|Actual photo of some of the nurses. Photo: wikimedia commons|
A story about a group of nurses held prisoners by the Japanese.
One thing that surprised me a little about the Band of Angels, and other military personnel who were serving in the Philippines, was how early they were involved in the war.
I had read a lot about the Bataan Death March, but somehow I never really retained the fact that the Philippines was involved immediately in WWII. Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. Bombing began in the Philippines right afterwards.
What was once considered easy duty in an exotic paradise quickly became a hell hole for the nurses serving there. The held on with the rest of the military as they became under constant bombings and attacks. They had to evacuated the hospitals, and set up open air hospitals in the jungle. Not only did they have to treat those wounded, but along with not having enough supplies and food, they had to deal with things like Malaria, Dengue Fever, Dysentery, and other diseases. They had to work exhausting hours, and then eventually the same diseases that they were treating, started to make them ill, because they had no supplies to stop it.
|Photo: wikimedia commons|
Finally after putting up their last stand on Corregidor, they were captured, and spent the rest of their time being imprisoned at Santo Tomas Internment Camp.While all this madness was going on, some of them still found love, and others wondered about what happened to loved ones. Some found out the worst about those they loved.
One thing I liked about the book is that it didn't stop when they were freed. It followed the lives of some of the nurses until their deaths. Many of them suffered from the affects of their time in prison, and the diseased they contracted for the rest of their lives. Some aided the author by telling their stories, and some didn't want to talk about that part of their lives. I found it to be a very good read.
The top photo is an actual photo of some of the Band of Angels, shortly after they were freed. They are wearing brand new uniforms, because the ones they had been wearing were tattered and worn.
Here is a link to the book, if you want to check it out.